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Duanwu Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival, also often known as Duanwu Festival (端午节), is a traditional celebration originating in China.

The festival now occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional lunar calendar, the source of its alternative name, the Double Fifth Festival.

The focus of most celebrations involves eating zongzi (sticky rice treats wrapped in bamboo leaves), drinking realgar wine (雄黃酒, xiónghuángjiǔ), and racing dragon boats.

Many legends circulate around the festival but the most popular is the legend of minister Qu Yuan. The festival commemorates the death of patriotic poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty. A cadet member of the Chu royal house, Qu served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance and even accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry. Twenty-eight years later, Qin captured Ying, the Chu capital. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.

It is said that the local people, who admired him, raced out in their boats to save him or at least retrieve his body. This is said to have been the origin of dragon boat races. When his body could not be found, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan's body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi.

Since then, it has been held annually for more than 2,000 years and is notable for its educational influence. (source - wikipedia)


Below are pictures of people make Zongzi, a glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, to mark the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival in Handan, north China's Hebei Province, June 16, 2015. The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu, is celebrated annually on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on June 20 this year. (Xinhua)

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Zongzi preparation for upcoming Dragon Boat Festival in China's Zhejiang

Photo of staff members make Zongzi, a glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, to mark the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival at a pastry store in ancient Tangqi Township, east China's Zhejiang Province, June 18, 2015. The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu, is celebrated annually on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on June 20 this year. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

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Photos of a staff member makes salted duck eggs to mark the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival at a pastry store in ancient Tangqi Township, east China's Zhejiang Province, June 18, 2015. The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu, is celebrated annually on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on June 20 this year. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

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Photos of staff members make Zongzi, a glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, to mark the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival at a pastry store in ancient Tangqi Township, east China's Zhejiang Province, June 18, 2015. The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu, is celebrated annually on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on June 20 this year. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

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The students in Cuitingyuan Primary School read classic poems in Hebei, east China's Anhui province on Tuesday. Wenboyuan residential community and Cuitingyuan made joint efforts to start a course in reading classics, celebrating the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival.(Photo/Xinhua)

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Children bathed in folium Artemisia argyi water in Zigui, hometown of famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan on Tuesday.(Photo/Xinhua)

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A dragon boat race was held in Beilun District of Ningbo, southeast China's Zhejiang province on June 13, 2015. 18 teams took part in this race.(Photo/Xinhua)

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On June 10, 2015, foreign families are invited to join Chinese kids to make zongzi in No. 2 Kindergarten under Yangzhou University, east China's Jiangsu province. (Photo/Xinhua)

Related article - Explore China Culture - 7 Things to Know and Do During Dragon Boat Festival

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